Best of the Tiny Fonts is a recurring feature in which our staff handpick the must-see smaller acts at all the major festivals.
The WayHome Music & Arts Festival is about to launch its second edition this Friday, and already the three-day festival is being hailed as the “Bonnaroo of Canada.” Makes some sense, seeing as it’s co-produced by Roo stakeholder AC Entertainment. But beyond that, most reports from 2015’s inaugural fest – which drew 35,000 attendees to Burl’s Creek Event Grounds (90% of which reportedly camped) in Oro-Medonte, about 90 minutes north of Toronto, Ontario – indicate its growing reputation has just as much to do with the ultra-positive, all-inclusive vibes and stacked lineups.
This year’s headlining roster provides proof enough of the latter: fest juggernauts LCD Soundsystem finish off Friday, home-country heroes Arcade Fire cap Saturday, and veritable main stage veterans The Killers serve as Sunday’s sonic supper. And just like its Tennessee-based pseudo-predecessor, WayHome boasts badass late-night options (running until 2 a.m.) on the first two nights.
A few of the lineup’s must-see Tiny Font artists – some that might not be on your radar yet – inhabit those nocturnal time slots, but many of the must-see undercards are scattered across various stages and throughout the weekend. If you’re someone seeking discovery – the only way to fest, really – allow us to guide you through a handful of our Tiny Font top picks.
Friday, 1:15 p.m., WayBright
By now, it’s well known that LANY (pronounced lay-nee) is an acronym for “Los Angeles New York,” a moniker chosen by LA-based dream pop artists Paul Klein, Jake Goss, and Les Priest to denote a nation-spanning sound. Their chill, bubbly dream pop certainly seems to hold that widespread appeal; since forming in 2014, they’ve been tapped to open for the likes of Twin Shadow, Ellie Goulding, and Halsey. With the strength of their latest EP, kinda, which includes infectiously catchy and gloriously chill single “WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL MY FRIENDS”, the trio will serve as a perfect kickoff to Friday’s all-night dance party run of Wolf Parade, Metric, Chvrches (or Foals), LCD Soundsystem, and Matt and Kim. Let LANY get you in the mood to groove.
Friday, 3:45 p.m., WayAway
This pick is probably a no-brainer for Canucks attending WayHome – Montreal-based BRAIDS were instant sensations with the release of their 2011 debut, Native Speaker, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize that year. Go figure, they were beat out by rising countrymen Arcade Fire for The Suburbs.
But now, with the release of 2015’s Deep in the Iris (their third disc), the avant-garde rock trio joins those Saturday night headliners – plus a slew of other Canadian darlings over the years like Broken Social Scene, Rufus Wainwright, and the New Pornographers – as winners of the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year.
No surprise there: The record splendidly blends a variety of soothing yet danceable styles, including R&B, contemporary pop, jazz, and electronica. It’s a textbook choice for fans of Radiohead, Chairlift, and FKA twigs – think big, exploratory beats with fantastic female lead vocals to buoy you through the mid-afternoon hours.